Live Science grants us deep insight into the biochemistry of the bar pickup, revealing that prospective partners look a whole lot better after they’ve had one drink than they do after two:
In the study, 40 students at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom volunteered to get a little tipsy. To see how the students’ appearances changed with each drink, the researchers photographed their faces three times: when sober, after drinking the equivalent of one glass of wine, and after drinking a second alcoholic drink. The participants were asked to make a neutral facial expression for each photo.
A separate group of heterosexual students then rated how attractive they found each headshot in side-by-side comparisons. They saw either a photo of a person sober next to a photo of the person taken after one drink, or a sober photo next to a photo taken after two drinks.
It turned out that the photos taken after one drink were rated as more attractive than the sober photos, the researchers found. But the trend didn’t continue. After two drinks, the participants found the sober photo more attractive than the high-alcohol headshot.
Researchers aren’t sure if it had to do with muscle relaxation, general emotional well-being or the rosiness of the cheeks.